Winter is a time when pipes freeze, thaw and break, causing drips, leaks and other problems. Winter is also a time when gutters fill with leaves, debris and ice, causing backups and house leaks. When the winter ends, many homeowners make plumbing repairs, gutter repairs and take on other plumbing related maintenance tasks that may have accumulated over the winter. Some of the following tasks can help you identify problems that may have developed over the course of the winter while also helping to ensure that your home’s plumbing is in good condition for the warmer parts of the year.
Interior Plumbing Protection
These routine chores can help you take care of the plumbing inside your home.
- Check the toilet for leaks. Add food coloring into the tank of each of your home’s toilets, then wait fifteen minutes and check the water in each toilet bowl. If the water in the bowl is dyed, then this means the toilet has a leak. The best way to repair a leaking toilet is to replace the toilet tank parts.
- Fill unused drains with water. Every drain contains water that forms an air-tight seal. This water prevents sewer gas from rising into the home. In drains that don’t get used very often, the water may evaporate with time, causing a smell to seep into the house. To prevent this from happening, dump water down drains that are not often used, and flush toilets located in unused parts of the home.
- Turn down the temperature on your water heater. Did you turn up your water heater temperature this winter? If so, now is the time to turn the heater back down. 120 degrees is the recommended setting. Leaving your water heater at a higher temperature can cause the heating elements in the water tank to burn out prematurely.
- Check under the sinks for corrosion and signs of leaks. Look under the sinks for corrosion, moisture and other signs of leaks. Have any leaks fixed right away to protect your home from water damage.
Exterior Plumbing Protection
Exterior plumbing is just as vulnerable to damage as interior plumbing. These tips will help you take care of your home’s exterior plumbing and drainage.
- Check exterior faucets for drips. Before hooking up your hoses, turn on the exterior faucets and then turn them off again. If the faucets drip after being turned off, this could be a sign of a break in the pipe. In this case, have the plumbing inspected by a plumber.
- Run your outside sprinklers, get broken sprinkler heads replaced. Turn on your in-ground sprinkler system and check all of the sprinkler heads to ensure that they’re working properly. Have broken sprinkler heads fixed by a knowledgeable plumber.
- Clean out the gutters. Gutters have a way of getting clogged over the winter and into the spring, when many birds build their nests in exterior gutters. Clean out your home’s gutters and downspouts. Use a plumber’s auger to clear out clogged downspouts.
- Check plumbing vents for birds nests. At this time of year, birds tend to build their nests anywhere they can, including in plumbing vents. If you can do it safely, check the inside of the plumbing vents. If you find a birds nest in a plumbing vent, clear the vent with a plumber’s auger or have the vent cleared by a professional plumber.
Contact Terry’s Plumbing
At Terry’s Plumbing our customers keep us busy at this time of year. We fix broken pipes, clear clogged drains and clean out plumbing vents. To get started with a plumbing repair in your home, contact us today for an appointment at (412) 364-9114.